Winter 2015 Living Writers Series

January 07, 2015

Winter Living Writers Poster.jpg

The Living Writers Series is a free and public event held Thursdays, 6:00-7:45 pm in Humanities Lecture Hall 206. For more information, please email

January 15: Cherríe Moraga

January 22: Verónica Reyes, Javier Huerta

January 29: Maya Chinchilla

February 5: Rigoberto González

February 12: Luis Alfaro

February 19: John Jota Leaños

February 26: Anita Hill*

March 5: Maceo Montoya

March 12: Student Reading

*Please note: the Anita Hill event will be a simulcast from College 9/10.

Cherríe Moraga

Cherríe L. Moraga is playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition and is a recipient of The American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Moraga has premiered and developed her work at theatres throughout San Francisco.  Brava’s production of "Heroes and Saints" in 1992 received numerous awards for best original script, including the Drama-logue and Critic Circles Awards and the Pen West Award. Her most recent play, NEW FIRE—To Put Things Right Again, a collaboration with visual artist, Celia Herrera Rodríguez, had its world premiere at Brava Theater Center in San Francisco in January 2012.  

Moraga has served as an Artist in Residence in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University and currently also shares a joint appointment with Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.   She teaches Creative Writing, Chicano/Latino and Indigenous Studies, and Playwriting.

Verónica Reyes

Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist jota poet from East Los Angeles, California. She earned her BA from California State University, Long Beach and her MFA from University of Texas, El Paso. She scripts poetry for the people. Her poems give voice to all her communities: Chicanas/os, immigrants, Mexicanas/os, and la jotería. Reyes has won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project, an Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award, and was a Finalist for Andrés Montoya Poetry award. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Feminist Studies, ZYZZYZVA, The New York Quarterly, Ms. Magazine (Online), and The Minnesota Review. She is a proud member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop.

Her first poetry book, Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press 2013), has won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Best Poetry from Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, Goldie award, and was a Finalist for Lesbian Poetry from Lambda Literary Awards 2014.

Javier Huerta

Javier O. Huerta is the author of Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007), which received the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine, and American Copia: An Immigrant Epic (Arte Publico 2012). His poems have recently been anthologized in American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011, and Everyman's Library Art and Artists: Poems. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Maya Chinchilla

Maya Chinchilla is a Guatemalan, Bay Area-based writer, video artist, and educator. Maya received her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College and her undergraduate degree from University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also founded and co-edited the annual non-exclusive publication, La Revista. Maya writes and performs poetry that explores themes of historical memory, heartbreak, tenderness, sexuality, and alternative futures. Her work —sassy, witty, performative, and self-aware— draws on a tradition of truth-telling and poking fun at the wounds we carry.

Her work has been published in anthologies and journals including: Mujeres de Maíz, Sinister Wisdom, Americas y Latinas: A Stanford Journal of Latin American Studies, Cipactli Journal, and The Lunada Literary Anthology. Maya is a founding member of the performance group Las Manas, a former artist-in-residence at Galería de La Raza in San Francisco, CA, and La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA, and is a VONA Voices and Dos Brujas workshop alum. She is the co-editor of Desde El Epicentro: An anthology of Central American Poetry and Art and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University.

Rigoberto González

Rigoberto González is the author of fifteen books of poetry and prose, and the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing. He is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, winner of the American Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, The Shelley Memorial Award of The Poetry Society of America, the Lambda Literary Award, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, on the executive board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey.

Luis Alfaro

Luis Alfaro is a Chicano writer and performer known for his work in poetry, theatre, short stories, performance and journalism. He is also a producer and director who spent ten years at the Mark Taper Forum as Associate Producer, Director of New Play Development and co-director of the Latino Theatre Initiative.

His work has been shown at venues including La Jolla Playhouse, Smithsonian Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art in London, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Magic Theatre, Goodman Theatre-Chicago, and Latino Chicago and Playwrights Arena in Los Angeles. His plays and performances include Oedipus el Rey, Electricidad, Downtown, No Holds Barrio, Body of Faith, Straight as a Line, Bitter Homes and Gardens, Ladybird, Black Butterfly, and Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

He teaches at the University of Southern California (in the Graduate Playwriting Program, Solo Performance, and Youth Theater) and California Institute of the Arts (in Solo Performance and Actors Studio).

John Jota Leaños

John Jota Leaños is an award-winning Chicano new media artist using animation, documentary and performance focusing on the convergence of memory, social space and decolonization. Leaños' animation work has been shown internationally at festivals and museums including the Sundance Film Festival, the Morelia International Film Festival, Mexico, San Francisco International Festival of Animation, the KOS Convention '07, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Leaños has also exhibited at the 2002 and 2008 Whitney Biennial in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Leaños is a Guggenheim Fellow in Film (2012), Creative Capital Foundation Grantee and has been an artist in residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Center for Chicano Studies, Carnegie Mellon University in the Center for Arts in Society, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Leaños is currently an Associate Professor of Social Documentary at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Anita Hill

In 1991, Anita Hill was thrust into the public spotlight when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Clarence Thomas. After the hearings, Ms. Hill began speaking to audiences worldwide about how to build on the great strides of women’s and civil rights struggles. In 1997, Ms. Hill published her autobiography, Speaking Truth to Power, in which she chronicles the events of the Clarence Thomas confirmation and in 2011 Ms. Hill published her second book, Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home. Ms. Hill is the subject of a 2013 documentary film, Anita, which chronicles her experiences during the Clarence Thomas confirmation.

In her work, Ms. Hill presents concrete proposals that encourage us to extend our vision of equality to include more than legal rights. Her goal is to encourage creative, equitable and positive resolution of race, gender and class issues.

Maceo Montoya

Maceo Montoya grew up in Elmira, California. He graduated from Yale University in 2002 and received his Master of Fine Arts in painting from Columbia University in 2006. His paintings, drawings, and prints have been featured in exhibitions and publications throughout the country as well as internationally. Montoya’s first novel, The Scoundrel and the Optimist (Bilingual Review, 2010), was awarded the 2011 International Latino Book Award for “Best First Book” and Latino Stories named him one of its "Top Ten New Latino Writers to Watch." In 2014, University of New Mexico Press published his second novel, The Deportation of Wopper Barraza, and Copilot Press published Letters to the Poet from His Brother, a hybrid book combining images, prose poems, and essays.

Montoya is an assistant professor in the Chicana/o Studies Department at UC Davis where he teaches the Chicana/o Mural Workshop and courses in Chicano Literature. He is also affiliated with Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA), a community-based arts organization located in Woodland, CA.